Star Wars: The Old Republic is no Witcher 2, Skyrim, or government-created missile targeting program. It doesn't exactly look like it should be the Death Star to your rig's Alderaan. And yet, many players have reported framerates that can barely keep their heads above 20FPS on machines that eat the aforementioned titles/missiles for breakfast. So, what's the deal? Well, BioWare's not entirely convinced there is one. With a wave of the hand, game director James Ohlen told Eurogamer that these aren't the performance issues you're looking for.
"The thing is, for the most part, 95 per cent - oh I can't give you the exact percentage - most of our players aren't really having performance concerns," he said. "However, we know that it's important that there is a smaller group of people usually with lower end machines that are having problems in some areas. And one of the most important things for us to grow our service is to continue to bring in more players, including those players who only have low-end machines."
"So we have a client team, a team of programmers, whose entire job is to optimise the code, find out where some of the issues are, and then fix that up. Most of the performance issues are localised though. They're things that we can track down. I would call them bugs."
Which doesn't really explain the whole PCs-that-eat-missiles-dropping-into-slideshow-territory thing, but that's BioWare's story and it's sticking to it. Regardless, Ohlen at least acknowledged bugs that need squashing, so hopefully they'll get what's coming to them sooner rather than later.